VP for student life’s prostitution solicitation arrest part of sting operation

Zach Johnson | @ZachJohnsonCW, News Editor

The West Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force announced the arrest of 15 men for soliciting prostitution on Thursday and Friday night, including former Vice President for Student Life Myron Pope.

The men arranged to pay for sex through an online app and were arrested after speaking to an undercover officer at the agreed-upon location. 

Along with investigating human trafficking cases, the task force also works cases involving sextortion, solicitation and promotion of commercial sex.

“If buyers were not seeking commercial sexual services, sex trafficking would no longer be profitable,” task force commander Capt. Phil Simpson said. “We hope these operations targeting buyers show that we take this very seriously. Our goal is to prevent future exploitation of human trafficking victims who are forced or coerced into prostitution.”

Pope resigned from the University on Friday after news of his arrest became public. 

“We understand this news will be difficult for our community,” UA President Stuart Bell wrote in an email to students on Friday. “I will appoint an interim Vice President of Student Life and that person, along with the many professionals in the division, will remain available to all of us.”

This story was updated at 2:20 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 19, to include a description of the West Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force.